Sponsorship Resources for Parents
Everything in this world comes with a cost—marching band included.
Common knowledge states that “the best things in life are free,” but performers and directors know that this phrase isn’t necessarily true. Somebody has to pay for trips, new instruments and replacement uniforms, and educational funding doesn’t always cut it. More traditional forms of fundraising, like carwashes, bake sales or raffles, are not always enough to cover all the expenses a band might need. So how can the band program pick up the slack?
While we look to our band families and friends for donations and fundraising assistance, we also rely on our community, local businesses and corporation as well.
Companies support charities on a large scale, providing financial support through matching gift programs and direct donations:
- Matching gift programs are charitable giving programs set up by corporations in which the company matches donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit organizations.
- Direct donations comes from corporate headquarters, regional offices, or company sponsored foundations to support local community efforts or nonprofits.
If you are currently employed by one of these wonderful organizations who offer matching gifts or provide direct donations please consider us. Remember, Jenks Public Schools are a 501(c) organization, so some or all of these donations may be tax deductible. We value not only your commitment to the program but your employer’s commitment as well.
How you ask can make the difference between getting a donation or not. Following are a few points to consider when approaching a company for donations:
If you are completing donation request forms:
- Do your homework before sending your donation request
Large companies usually have dedicated departments that work with charitable groups. Check the company’s website and make some calls to make sure you’re directing your request to the right department and the right person.
- Learn about donation request procedures and follow them
Each company will have their own set of rules, forms and procedures about how to apply for a donation. Some will ask detailed information, down to exact demographics of your beneficiaries, while others may ask for specific forms to be filled out. Be ready to provide a lot of information.
Also, be prepared to make your request in person. If a company is willing to make a large donation, they might invite you to make a presentation.
- Briefly introduce your cause
Briefly describe our non-profit and our mission and goals. This shouldn’t take more than a paragraph or two. Remember that no one has time to read long letters, and you don’t want them to have to do research on something you could have easily mentioned.
- Describe our struggles and what we’d like to achieve
This is the part about why you’re asking for help and why you’re asking now. Make your case and let your passion for your work shine through. This is where persuasive writing skills will come in handy.
Don’t be shy about asking for support. It’s your job as the representative of our cause to generate as much money as you can for the group, so write with no inhibitions, remembering what we are trying to achieve.
- Let them know how we would like to be supported
If you’re sending a donation request, be specific. Tell them we need x amount of money which will support x amount of kids achieve the goal of sending everyone to the Bands of America Marching Competitions regardless of an individual’s or their family’s ability to pay.
If you are able, or are asked, to make your request in person:
- Practice, Practice, PRACTICE – And Then Practice Some More
The best way to dominate your donor visits, get more funds and create real, lasting connections… is to PRACTICE every aspect of your ask.
In other words, by the time you are actually sitting in front of a prospect, you should have rehearsed the many paths the conversation could take MANY times before.
Practice your ask. Can’t emphasize it enough.
Run through how you’ll call them on the phone. Plan on how to structure your meeting. Decide how long you’ll small talk at the beginning, and how to transition smoothly into the ask itself. Leave no stone unturned! It’s painful, but you’ll learn things about your delivery and be far more confident and free when it comes to actually making the ask. Don’t skip this step.
- Never, Ever Surprise Your Prospect
If your potential donor is ever surprised you’re asking them for money, something is deeply amiss. Make it clear in your first call or contact that you’re interested in talking to them about your cause and how they might be able to get involved supporting our fundraising goal.
- Ask for a Specific Amount
Finally, always ask for a specific amount to contribute to the cause.
Why is this important? Because it takes the burden off of the donor to figure out what size of a donation is necessary. They don’t know anything about our campaign goals. You do. So help them out. Don’t make your donor do the work.
Asking is challenging enough. A question like "would you consider a gift of ____?" accomplishes two things. First, it takes the pressure off the asker. People visibly relax when they hear that this is a good fundraising phrase. This feels like something they can naturally say.
Second, this phrase encourages askers to use a specific dollar amount. "Will you support our cause?" is a cop-out for truly asking for money. Do the donor prospect the courtesy of plainly telling them what number you're thinking about. A non-confrontational question like "Would you consider a gift of $25,000?" accomplishes just that.
We get it. Asking for money is intimidating. But it’s also an immense privilege. You’re inviting other people to take action. You’re selling significance. And at the end of the day, most people don’t mind feeling like they’re making an outsized impact on the world.
You’ve just got to ask them to.
Even if you didn’t get chosen for a donation this year, be aware of the impression you leave behind. If you’ve represented your cause in a positive light and dealt with everyone in a respectful and friendly manner, chances are they will remember you the following year – when you apply again.